Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Nurse convicted of assault has registration cancelled by tribunal
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Nurse convicted of assault has registration cancelled by tribunal

11 Oct 2022

A tribunal has cancelled an enrolled nurse’s registration after she engaged in violent conduct in a public place.

Trigger warning: Some readers may find this article distressing. If you are experiencing distress, please visit the NM Support website or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for help.

On 22 January 2020, Ms Lesley-Ann Gardner was convicted and sentenced in relation to two offences which occurred on 20 October 2018. The first offence related to fighting with an unknown person in a public place. The second related to assault causing harm committed shortly afterwards on a second individual (AB). 

The injuries suffered by AB were serious. AB had 15 weeks off work as a result of his injuries, causing significant financial distress for his family. He also described in his victim impact statement the non-physical effects of the assault by Ms Gardner.

A notification was received by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) from police after Ms Gardner was arrested and charged on 21 October 2018 with one count of aggravated affray and one count of aggravated assault.  Ms Gardner failed to notify the NMBA of these charges within 7 days as required by section 130 of the National Law. She also failed to notify the NMBA of her conviction on 22 January 2020 within 7 days. 

Upon hearing of her pleas of guilty, the NMBA took immediate action against Ms Gardner on 13 November 2019 by suspending her registration and, following an investigation, referred Ms Gardner to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal). 

On 26 May 2021, the tribunal found that Ms Gardner behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct and ordered that Ms Gardner:

  • be reprimanded
  • have her registration cancelled
  • be disqualified from applying for registration as a health practitioner for a period of two years from the date of the order, and 
  • pay the NMBA’s costs of the proceedings. 

The NMBA noted that “the behaviour of Ms Gardner on the night in question was inconsistent with her being a fit and proper person to be registered as an enrolled nurse. Her conduct was incompatible with the characteristics and behaviour to be expected of a member of a caring profession. The conduct was such as to bring the profession of nursing into serious disrepute. It was inconsistent with the Board’s Code of Conduct and fell substantially below the standard of conduct to be expected of any enrolled nurse”.

The tribunal’s decision was published on 26 May 2021 and is available on the Austlii website

Page reviewed 11/10/2022